11/27/14

Winter no matter what the calendar says

 It's Thanksgiving, and MeadowWild Farm's biggest turkey 
-- Momo -- joins us in wishing everyone a happy holiday.
 The girls are enjoying their Thanksgiving buffet.
 Arabica and Dream check to see if the others are getting more stuffing
 while Eclipse considers sneaking out for some early Black Friday shopping.
 Winter may not begin officially for another month yet
 but we got our first substantial snowfall on Nov 10
which allowed the deer to record their travels through the back yard. 
 Mojo wonders why none of the girls are meeting him at the fence like they used to.
 
 Chandra isn't so sure she wants to walk through this stuff to the milking shed.
 
 We reconciled ourselves to 5 months of pretty much the same view out the upstairs windows
  but then a few warm days reduced the snow cover considerably.
 The warmth didn't last, however, and we've been "enjoying" wintry temperatures -- like this morning's 10 below zero.
Because the girls seem now to have settled
 
 Mojo tries to stay warm by nuzzling a less than enthusiastic Amigo.
Dustin is personally outraged by the frigid temperatures
 and settles down for a long winter's nap in front of a heating vent. 
 "Wake me up in April."
 Feral Momma Kitty doesn't have the luxury of furnace vents, so Barb constructed a shelter for her: a fluffy pillow inside a styrofoam cooler inside a tote, with straw insulation between the walls.
 Of course she ignores the cozy condo and glares at us from the top of the hay bale mountain.
 Some cute visiting Nubian babies stayed warm by having a red-hot iron applied to their foreheads, as Barb helped a friend with the dehorning.
At the MDGA fall conference this month, Barb's submissions to the dairy foods competition did very well, winning first place in all three of the categories that she entered:
Fresh Cheeses (her Quick Smoked Mozzarella)
Aged Cheeses (her Ricotta Salata)
 
and Desserts & Appetizers (her Quark Käsekuchen).
 In addition, her Feta Bulgarian Style won a 2nd place
 and her Carmelized Leek Quark Spread won a 3rd place.
 Fall preserving continued at MeadowWild Farm, including collards 
 that were blanched and frozen
 while the remaining apples were dehydrated
 
 and Barb was out after the snow storm smoking more mozzarellas.
 
 
 She's been especially busy making and curing soap in anticipation of the Christmas gift season
 
 and the annual Christkindl Market at TJ's Country Corner on Dec 6.  
(We're hoping for warmer weather than last year's below-zero day, during which Barb and friend Laura survived only due to some timely Peppermint Schnapps.) 
 We conclude with a gorgeous sunrise that Barb captured on Nov 19 as she went out to milk
 and a portrait of Brian and Kärin's cute Electra
who is incubating some fabulous Mojo kids.

11/1/14

Got Our Mojo Workin'

 The gaudy autumn colors have fled, leaving the subtler browns and yellows of late October.
 
 
The month began with the first snow of the season
 
 but then warmed above average for much of the time.
 
 Deciduous trees are mostly bare
 and mornings frosty.
 
 One of the neighbors' horses got spooky for Halloween.
 Wild turkeys glean a field, oblivious to the approach of Thanksgiving.
 
 Spring Lake remains free of ice
 but the front pond is starting to freeze over.
The furnace has been cleaned.  We're ready for whatever Boreas blows our way.
 
 
 The apple harvest is in 
 and in the process of being preserved.  For several of the trees it was a bumper year 
 
and the deer got a good share.
 
 They've been hanging close to the house recently, though they will vanish as soon as firearms deer season begins on Nov 8.
 Momma Kitty’s hunting season is in full swing.  Her favorite killing field is just outside our study window; she regularly brings mice and voles to play with on a bare patch behind the house.
 Rainy days she snoozes in the pole barn on top of the hay bale mountain.
Steve just finished teaching a FDLTCC College for Seniors course titled
 
-- not that anyone at MeadowWild Farm is thinking of aging any time soon.
 If Dustin looks a bit crabby, it’s because he spent 24 hours at the vet getting yet another tooth extracted due to resorptive lesions. 
 He was still a bit groggy from the anesthesia when we brought him home.
Following the vet’s suggestion, we prepared a cozy nook for him in the study closet, complete with soft bed and a toasty space heater.
 Don’t know if he spent any time there during the night, but when we checked on him early the next morning he was in the hallway still batting around and rolling on a mouse he had dispatched – suggesting a quick recovery from the dental surgery.
 Three teeth had already been removed in April, so he’s headed toward dentures – and perhaps will replace the Grumpy Cat of internet fame.
 It’s breeding season, and MeadowWild Farm is resonant with noisy goats and redolent of Eau de Mojo.
From a cute little buckling Mojo has developed 
into a studly young buck.
 Last year before getting the swing of things Sanchez had to read the Alex Comfort manual for goats and sit through several showings of the junior high school hygiene films concerning the birds and bees. 
 But Mojo learned his role intuitively and jumped right into it with gusto.
Here is the suave Lothario whispering sweet nothings into Momo’s ear, while she warbles melodious soft love ditties in return:
video
 Mojo is a real sweetie . . .
The only problem is he’s harder to keep locked up than John Dillinger.  Not content with the chaperoned speed dates he’s been provided, he has escaped numerous times, climbing over fences, slipping through tiny openings, and breaking the ties that keep the cattle panels attached to their stakes – intent to find the girls’ dormitory on his own. 
 He’s the Steve McQueen of the goat world.
So far we hope three of the ladies have settled:  Momo
 Eclipse (in her very appropriate Lil Devil Halloween costume)
 and Cheeky.
(Friend Brian provided a cute photo of Cheeky and Barb keeping track of each other at last month’s Bluff Country Classic Dairy Goat Show.) 
 
 Chandra is showing more interest in Mojo today, so we trust all four active does will soon be knitting baby booties in anticipation of spring deliveries.
 Eclipse wishes everyone a belated happy Halloween!
And here is a reprint of the 2010 MeadowWild herd tricked out in costumes supplied by the wonderful Dale Connelly.